I was driving around one of the industrial estates on the edge of the Brittania council estate during the early hours. Slowly, no lights, windows open, hoping against all the odds to be in the right place at the right time.
The schools are long out of the realm on nights unless an alarm goes off because of the increase in spending from the education budget on CCTC and high spike topped security fences. It would have been better employing more teachers or buying more books but the burglars off the Brittania have different ideas.
I catch a small and sudden dim glow of a light in the distance and stop on the hand brake. An interior light of a distant car had come on. There are two figures moving about, their dark silhouettes outlined by the feint dimness of the interior light. I continue and ask for any other spare units in the area or to make silently towards the industrial estate. Units are on their way so I drive slowly and quietly forward. The interior goes out accompanied by two large bangs as the doors of the car slam shut the the car accelerates fiercely away, no lights. I’m off after it , put on my own lights to see the index and relay what I think it is and almost immediately get a no trace so assume it must be wrong.
After narrowly missing some parked cars Schumacher in the car puts his lights on as we leave the industrial estate and drive towards civilisation. I have gained a little but remain about 80 or so yards behind. I cannot tell you what that is in metres.
The local units are listening to the locations and are furiously making for the usual decamp locations. Between giving a basic description of locations direction of travel and speed over the top of a howling beast I have to repeat most of my commentary at least twice. Everyone who matters understands.
After 11 minutes that seem like 30 minutes I pass the same junction into the Brittania Estate for the third or fourth and Bingo. Traffic are there in the junction. Not one but two. Two high performance machines with a double crew and just itching to take over. Bingo with a capital B. Schumacher passes, I pass, the two traffic chariots come out of the junction and both pass me as though I am stationary and take their place in the gap I have created for them by allowing the target vehicle to get away from me. I might have had difficulty in keeping up but it enhances my own driving credibility to suggest I allowed them a safe gap. The eye in the sky otherwise known as our Force copter has long gone to its roost due to low cloud base, flying hours or the fear of turning into something unpleasant after the witching hour has passed. In a matter of 400 yards I hear the phrase ‘convoy complete’ and I can sit back, enjoy the ride and try to keep up awaiting the decamp and the chance to send my mate.
These boys are good, very good. I cannot even see the target car. The commentary is also very good, in fact excellent. I know the road conditions, the other road users and general traffic conditions, their road speed every 5 seconds or so, the colour of the curtains at the junction of Acacia Avenue and High Street where most of the decamps occur next to the cycle track and also that the builders merchants have a two for one offer on ridge tiles. One of the car dealerships has the new model in early this year. They are considerate and concise. Itis safe to continue. No one is in danger. There is so much detail but none that really interests me. It is still safe to continue. I am following them, following them and praying to the God of people who run away from the Police for the opportunity of a clean shot with no Police Officers in the way as alternative targets.
There is no vehicle description for continuity, no road speed of the target car. The car is gone, somewhere into the night. Is it still safe to continue. The car appears to have vanished. We have lost it. We know the index but are awaiting the result.
Then Bingo…….with an even bigger capital B.
Some of District have used their general Policing skills and have plotted up and have picked up the vehicle. We now have another confirmation of the number and a stolen vehicle from the bright lights of the City. These might not be locals and are not aware of all the best places to go for a bit of a night time jog. I follow the locations and then hear the word that Schumacher has crashed and two are out and running. Upon my arrival District have caught one and they state that the driver has gone to ground in an area they have got surrounded. He could run faster than the passenger and was in no mood to allow himself to be caught. There is little loyalty amongst people fleeing to avoid capture. Certainly it does not all count on the toss of a coin.
Two officers are hardly enough to surround anywhere so my mind changes this to having him cornered, somewhere out there in the undergrowth. If he is there we will find him.
The wind is playing havoc so I take a circular route to the far side of the area where our driver is likely to be, set up my friend and he is away. He goes to investigate the figure on a mound of high ground overlooking the scene. He is one of ours. After a quick inspection he seems to know that this is not the person he is hunting. As he quarters the search area he spins around suddenly and takes off back towards the officer on the high ground getting ever closer. His tail arches over his back. I know he has found what he seeks. He seeks the smell of his quarry, then locate the source of this smell. This will be another successful hunt. He is getting closer, his pace becomes even more urgent and suddenly up stands Schumacher, not 5 yards in front of the officer up on the high ground of the mound. My mate approaches and I shout for Schumacher to stand still. My mate leaves him in no doubt this is the only sensible thing to do. I force my way through the brambles eventually getting to Schumacher, get hold of my mate and I see that he has an unsightly stain down his trouser front. This is embarrassing and I hope his mum can forget stains and trusts pink.
District approach, cuff Schumacher and take him away. Now in safe protective custody he begins to shout and tell me how lucky the dog was, he could have injured the dog, he could have taken us all if he had wanted to, we were both lucky. I realise that I am fortunate to survive the wrath of Schumacher. He is clearly not someone to be trifled with. I inspect the bramble scratches on my shins. I am clearly fortunate to have survived with only minor scratches. He let us all off on this occasion.
He also left an unusual stain on the seat of the Police car. We were lucky, we never had to smell it on the way back to the nick.
Night Stalking, it works, sometimes. I will meet Schumacher again.
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